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Ben Novak

The Second Cooing: Raising Passenger Pigeons from the Dead

The world has been without passenger pigeons since 1914. Now, scientists want to bring them back. Geneticist Ben Novak has embarked on the project and has begun collecting passenger pigeon DNA from natural history museums. His “de-extinction” efforts are not without critics. By Philip Bethge The eye sockets of the slender pigeon are filled with […]

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The Wizard of Stem Cell Science: Robert Lanza and the Dawning of a New Era of Hope

Ethical worries have slowed medical research into applications for stem cells. But scientists like Robert Lanza have developed less controversial ways to derive stem cells from normal body cells rather than embryos and are already launching the first clinical trials. By Philip Bethge Stem cell researcher Robert Lanza hopes to save thousands of lives — […]

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Interview with Edward O. Wilson on Human Evolution and the Origin of Morals

American sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson is championing a controversial new approach for explaining human evolution and the origins of virtue and sin. In an interview, the world-famous ant reseacher explains why he believes the inner struggle is the characteristic trait of human nature. By Philip Bethge and Johann Grolle Edward O. Wilson doesn’t come across […]

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SPIEGEL Blog: Surrogate Mother (Not Yet) Sought for Neanderthal

An interview published last week by SPIEGEL with American genetic scientist George Church has sparked frenetic media speculation about a supposed plan to bring the Neanderthal back from the dead. Church feels his remarks were mistranslated, but it was other media outlets that twisted his words. “Wanted: Surrogate Mother For Neanderthal,” screamed an article in […]

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Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?

In a SPIEGEL interview, synthetic biology expert George Church of Harvard University explains how DNA will become the building material of the future — one that can help create virus-resistant human beings and possibly bring back lost species like the Neanderthal. –> Update: The Interview has sparked frenetic media speculation about a supposed plan to […]

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Preservation in a Petri Dish: Scientists Hope Cloning Will Save Endangered Animals

Biotechnicians want to use cloning to save endangered species, but they are having only limited success. Critics say that the push toward a new era of wildlife conservation trivializes extinction and funding would be better spent on preserving animal habitats. By Philip Bethge A number of times each week, Martha Gómez creates new life. Today, […]

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Oil palm plantation, PNG

Papua New Guinea’s Royal Trophy: Are Collectors Key to Saving Giant Butterfly?

Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s largest butterfly, but oil palm plantations are threatening the rare species’ habitat. Conservationists and local residents alike would like to save the species by lifting a ban on trade in the butterfly and selling it for thousands of dollars to collectors. By Philip Bethge The butterfly’s silhouette […]

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